First Things First: What To Do In A Flood

First Things First: What To Do In A Flood

If you’ve lived or worked in La Quinta for any time at all, you know the Coachella Valley floods frequently. In fact, flash floods can occur several times a year. If you’re new to the area, a quick search will turn up story after story of serious flooding and tremendous damage to property. It’s important to be prepared for the worst, and know what to do if your property falls victim to the ravages of capricious weather. 

So what do you do in the case of a flood? 

The first step depends on whether you are at home when the flooding happens, or in the case of a vacation property, find out about it after the fact. If you’re at home, your safety comes first. Focus on keeping yourself and your loved ones out of harm’s way. If you can, it’s important to turn off the power to your home, even if the power is out. You’ll want to wear rubber boots and rubber gloves, then head to the fuse box to turn off the main breaker as well as the as well as the individual fuse switches. If you can’t get to the breaker safely, or don’t have any protective gear, please don’t attempt it. 

Keep in mind that flood water in or around your home isn’t just like wading in the creek on a summer’s day. It can be contaminated with all sorts of things, and might even be toxic. It can harbor bacteria, mold or any number of chemicals. And as it is typically quite murky, you won’t know what you’re stepping on.

Prevent Inundation

Whatever you can do to stem the tide of the water entering your house, the better. The less water in, the less water you’ll have to get out. And in this case, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While there’s very little you can do to prevent water coming in during a 100 year flood type of event, the smaller, more common flash foods can and should be prepared for. Look into dry floodproofing, which primarily involves coating the foundation in waterproof sealants or plastic sheeting. Wet floodproofing is another option, and works by balancing the hydrostatic pressure inside and outside the house. This solution actually allows for a certain amount of water to enter the house, but prevents greater damage from excessive amounts of water. Because of this, it’s recommended that appliances such as washing machines, furnaces, and water heaters should be above the projected flood level for safety’s sake.

Dry It Out after the flood

If you’ve just entered your vacation property after a flood, the first course of action is to get everything dried out as quickly as possible. Of course, if you see buckled walls or flooring or anything else that indicates structural damage – don’t go in. Again, your safety is the most important concern, and if the structure looks unsafe, you need to get professionals in to deal with it. Call your insurance and start taking pictures of everything. Once everything is documented, and you get the okay, it’s time to start bailing (or using a siphon, wet vac, etc). Remove all the standing water and then get fans and dehumidifiers on the scene. According to FEMA, mold can start growing only 24-48 hours after water exposure.

Avoid the Mold

Of course one of the worst effects of flooding can be the resulting mold. Mold is difficult to mitigate once it has set in. While some people try the DIY approach, it’s really not recommended. Mold can cause numerous health issues and should be treated as hazardous material. It is best handled by professionals with experience in mold remediation and the tools to do it safely.


After all the remediation, you’ll likely need to replace flooring at least, if not entire areas of your home. It’s a big job and can feel overwhelming. Dealing with the results of flooding is both emotionally and physically draining. Know that you’re not alone, and there are people willing to help. At Distinctive Restoration, we are here for you to help all along the way. We can handle everything from insurance, to cleanup and reconstruction. We offer 24/7 service and have a 45 minute guaranteed arrival time – so we’ll never leave you waiting while mold takes over your home and your precious belongings irretrievably damaged. Don’t gamble on such an important job – use experts with years of experience, and get it done right the first time!